The Adopt-A-Stream Program was initiated in 1995 along with the establishment of Ontario Streams. Since that time, the program has been a small but integral way in which we involve community members in ecological stewardship activities. In 2010, Ontario Streams received funding support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation which has allowed us to greatly expand our Adopt-A-Stream Program in the York-Simcoe region into a program of its own. We registered 25 new Adopt-A-Stream groups in 2011 and have continued to expand the number of registered groups each year, including groups from outside the York-Simcoe region. We are very excited about this program and the positive impact it has on community involvement and the health of Ontario’s streams!

What is the Adopt-A-Stream Program

Our Adopt-A-Stream Program is a public outreach program used to encourage local community participation in ecological restoration activities, while at the same time instilling a life-long sense of stewardship towards the environment in the participants. As part of this program, Adopt-A-Stream groups sign on to "adopt" a section of a stream, riparian area or wetland and to care for this space as part of a long-term commitment. Participants are lead through the steps required to develop small-scale community stewardship projects and they volunteer their time to implement the work. The Adopt-A-Stream Program provides community members and volunteers a chance to be actively involved in environmental efforts in their community.

What groups qualify for the Adopt-A-Stream Program?

The Adopt-A-Stream Program allows any group of 5 or more interested participants to enrol in the program. Group types include, but are not limited to:

  • Scouts, guides, and other youth groups
  • Volunteer and community organizations
  • Companies and corporations
  • Environmental and naturalist clubs
  • Fishing and recreational clubs
  • School groups and clubs
  • Friends, families, and neighbours

Where can we Adopt?

Groups are encouraged to select an adoption site close to their neighbourhood, club meeting spot, business or school; these locations are easily accessible without travel and groups will already possess some local knowledge of the site. With the landowners consent, groups can adopt rivers, streams, riparian areas or wetlands on crown land, municipal land, conservation authority property, or private property.

What will we do at our site?

Ontario Streams will work with your group to assess the health at your adoption site. Individual project goals and objectives are driven by the current state of the site and the goals of each individual group. There are a wide variety of projects that can be undertaken, but some examples include:

  • tree plantings
  • wetland restoration projects
  • stream bank stabilization
  • fish/wildlife habitat enhancement
  • riparian zone rehabilitation
  • fish barrier mitigation
  • garbage cleanups
  • fisheries/wildlife monitoring

Our vision for this program is that this education will lead to a long-term stewardship initiative in those involved and the surrounding community. Adopting a section of a stream or wetland area provides an exceptional hands-on learning experience for all ages.

Adopt-A-Stream Crossing Tree Planting Program

In partnership with The Regional Municipality of York, the Adopt-a-Stream-Crossing program gives school and community groups the opportunity to help restore forest cover and habitat in-and-around streams near Regional roads. Adopt-a-Stream Crossing program volunteer hours count toward the Ministry of Education’s required secondary school community service hours in Ontario. Activities include:

  • Tree and shrub planting
  • Litter pickup
  • A classroom visit upon request

We will supply:

  • Planting and restoration instruction and guidance
  • Trees and shrubs for planting
  • Safety vests, gloves and shovels
  • On-site safety instructions for working around busy roads, water and uneven ground


This program is provided at no cost. If a bus is required for schools, registered charities or non-profit organizations, the program coordinator will organize transportation for your group.


Events take place between: April and June (spring planting season); September and November (fall planting season). To register or learn more about the program, please fill out an application form or visit the York Region website for more information. You will be contacted by the program coordinator.